Every single one of us is running a race: the human race.
Every single one of us is hoping to achieve something from our race, whether it be success, recognition, fame, money, love, belonging,…. You name it! We’re all running and hoping for something in our life.
That said, every single one of us can relate to the phenomenal journey that JJ put himself through by running the Addo Elephant 100-mile trail run for Pebbles Primrose Nursery School. He set out to run an ultramarathon with the intention of raising enough money to offer the children of Pebbles Primrose a HOPE-FILLED FUTURE! He challenged pretty ordinary people, like you and I, to do the impossible by donating money towards the school, while he set out to do the impossible by running 160 km.
“You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make.”– Gordon B. Hinckley
And, do you know what the most inspiring thing of all of this has been?
We were reminded that nothing worth having ever comes easy. It always takes time, hard-work, and discipline. Both JJ, and every single one of you who contributed towards Run4Hope, had to sacrifice something valuable, giving of your time, money, prayers and thoughts to ensure that 31 children were fed, educated, transported and loved by the amazing donations received!
JJ spent 30 weeks training, a total of 2000 km, in preparation for this race. He pushed himself mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally on levels that he never even knew were possible, in order to see himself crossing that finish line – and providing a hope-filled future for 31 children through the love, support and sacrifice of the amazing community that has come alongside him.
JJ worked extremely hard for over 7 months to be prepared for the giant that awaited him, he did every single thing he possibly could to be prepared for the race, and yet he couldn’t get past 30 kms. I’m sure you can only imagine the devastation that JJ felt in that moment, sitting at crosspoint 3, hearing the words of the chief paramedic saying: “I’m sorry, but we cannot allow you to go any further. We need to withdraw you from the race”.
You see, JJ suffered from a terrible allergic reaction that tightened his chest to the point of him not being able to breathe properly. He still pushed himself for 3 and half hours with the condition, until realizing that he could barely inhale anymore – and that the condition had become life-threatening. Despite JJ’s eagerness to keep trying, the chief paramedic called it due to no improvement after an hour of rest, medication and oxygen.
Why? Why would this happen when JJ did every single thing he possibly could to be prepared?
The answer is simple: setbacks happen. We’re all going to have to jump over hurdles throughout our race that may or may not be due to anything we did, or failed to do.
The children from Pebbles Primrose belong to 31 of the poorest families in the Makausi Informal Settlement in Primrose. The majority of their life has been a hurdle, and there is very little that any of them can do to change their situation… They just have to keep placing one foot in front of the other, and trust that their journey will get easier the longer they persevere.
“The race of life is a marathon, not a sprint”– Tori Robbins
Don’t get us wrong… hurdles suck! And, in the moment, they make you feel like all hope is lost and you’ll never be able to recover, or maybe even finish the race. But compared to the ultramarathon before you, that hurdle is nothing but a small setback that enables you to grow, increase in strength and capacity, and finish the race harder, stronger and faster.
So, just like we are in desperate need of a heavenly father to help us finish our human race, the 31 children of Pebbles Primrose needed to rely on a generous community of people who sponsored over R60,000.00 to their education and upbringing. And, seeing as JJ wasn’t able to complete the 160 km as planned, JJ’s work colleagues who were totally inspired by JJ’s example, collectively went out running and did their part to help JJ reach his target.
As a community, they stood together and ran the race with JJ, to show their support and admiration towards what he had set out to do. So, as devastating as the news about JJ may have been, it was an even greater reminder that we need to keep fighting no matter what comes along our journey, and that we CANNOT run the race of life alone. We have a community around us that will hold up our hands and enable us to become OVERCOMERS instead of succeeders. Anyone can achieve something… but it takes a community to overcome a setback that was never your burden to carry.
“A vital team characteristic is the ability to overcome adversity. Any team acquires experience and endurance as it learns to fight back. This in turn builds the kind of character which seldom crumbles at a time of crisis or testing.”– Tom Landry
Thank you to JJ and the whole van Heerden clan who decided to run their race of life in such a raw and vulnerable way, in order to bring awareness to Pebbles Primrose, Sukuma Foundation and everything we do. But most importantly, thank you to the beautiful COMMUNITY that supported JJ and Pebbles Primrose, enabling 31 children to be one step closer to becoming overcomers!
Just like our life, this race isn’t over. It’s a journey…
Stay tuned to our social media to see what other amazing events JJ and Dorothy have planned to achieve the R400,000.00 goal for Pebbles Primrose.
Rise up and stand with us as we ALL Run4Hope!